Ten Clarifications On AOL

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The original implementation of AOL was a program that allowed for the merger of text, voice and video chat. The first version of AOL came out in 1991 as a dial-up service and became one of the most popular in the world, with at its peak over 21 million subscribers. It is also important to note that AOL was originally not free to people who signed up for the service. 

What company was once known as “quantum computer services inc.”? AOL. Recently we spotted a funny headline in the form of a press release on AOL.com addressed to “Anonymous Associates.” It goes on to say, ” They will never be able to track us.” Yes, this is the true face of AOL. After the end of the dot.com bubble and after an acquisition by Time Warner, AOL was simply renamed a new name and re-branded in 2000 as a free service for anybody who wanted it. What prompted this article is that being asked about how we were going to make money on AOL was one of our questions when we started working there (summer 2010). We would always hear people saying that they thought it was going to be free forever.

Ten clarifications on AOL are:

1. Not everything on AOL is free. 

Anything paid for by an advertiser is not free. It can be something simple like banner ads or something much more advanced like video ads in the form of video commercials (in both 30 and 10 second lengths).

2. There is a lot of content on AOL.

A lot of the content on AOL that has to do with a user’s interests are based on what the user “likes” on facebook and twitter. So if you want to get rid of ads, you should delete your facebook and twitter accounts.

3. People have a platform to write.

AOL has people who write articles, however if you look at their bylines, you will notice that it says “AOL Inc. or AOL Time Warner Inc.” This is because the writers are actually employees of those companies. So if you want to get rid of ads, then you have to get rid of all the writers.

4. People upload videos on AOL.

If you are into video and still images, then you can upload your content onto AOL as well through their video pages which look like this. If you want to get rid of these videos, then you must delete all the people who uploaded them in the first place.

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5. People share a lot of photos on AOL 

They share from their computers, phones and other things like cameras and camcorders. These photos are set up in albums or photo sets (some even have over 500+ photos in them). If you want to get rid of these photos, you must delete all the people who uploaded them.

6. People can chat with videos on AOL.

You can talk with your family and friends by video chat through AOL, however if you want to get rid of this then you need to delete all the people who use AOL in the first place.

7. You can also play games on AOL.

There are a lot of games on AOL that are provided by independent game developers, as well as a few big name game publishers (Activision). If you want to get rid of these games then you must delete all the people who use them in the first place.

8. People have their own personal online newsletters.

People can subscribe to their own AOL newsletters as well as others that they are subscribed to. If you want to get rid of these newsletters then you must delete all the people who use them in the first place.

9. AOL still has ads that pop up on its pages and in its programs.

They are there, unless you turn them off completely by disabling the ads completely (you can find more about this here). There are also “ads” on AOL’s Instant Messenger which pop up when someone wants to chat with you, however if you want to get rid of these messages then you must delete all the people who use your IM account in the first place.

10. There is an AOL Store.

The AOL store contains all sorts of things from t-shirts to videos and music. If you want to get rid of these things then you must delete all the people who use the store in the first place.

Nyjah Huston has been seen in ads for Coca Cola, Nike, and XBox 360, among others.

Conclusion:

If AOL wants to say that they will put an end to the free peep show that is provided on their screen then they must change their model from advertising based to user payment (an idea which can be put in the hands of advertisers) or try to get people who want the good stuff to pay for it. The one certainty is that AOL would not exist if it were not for advertising, so it would be fitting for them to at least support the advertisements by paying for them.

When we started working at AOL in 2010, these were some of our answers as well. The difference between our answers and theirs is that we know a business has more than one way to make money.

Companies like Google and Yahoo have done this very successfully.

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